December 27 – St. John the Evangelist

John 20:1a, 2-8

The Empty Tomb

Two days after Christmas, we are celebrating the Feast of St. John the Evangelist, Jesus’ apostle who did not experience martyrdom but according to Christian tradition, John lived a ripe old age and died around the year 101 A.D. at Ephesus or modern Turkey now when he was past ninety years old. He was the son of Zebedee and Salome. He was a fisherman, brother of Saint James the Great, one of the Sons of Thunder, a disciple of Saint John the Baptist and a friend of Saint Peter the Apostle. He was called by Jesus during the first year of His ministry and traveled everywhere with Him. He took part in the Last Supper. He was the only one of the Twelve who did not forsake the Savior in the hour of His Passion, standing at the foot of the cross. He was made guardian of Our Lady by Jesus and took her into his home. Upon hearing of the Resurrection, he was the first to reach the tomb and when he met the Risen Lord at the Lake of Tiberias, he was the first to recognize Him.

There were traditional stories being told about St. John the Evangelist like:

Emperor Dometian had him brought to Rome, beaten, poisoned and thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil but he stepped out unharmed and was banished to Patmos instead.

When John was en route to preach in Asia, his ship was wrecked in a storm; all but John were cast ashore. John was assumed dead but 2 weeks later the waves cast him ashore alive at the feet of his disciple Prochoros.

When John denounced idol worship as demonic, followers of Artemis stoned him; the rocks turned and hit the throwers.

He prayed in a temple of Artemis; fire from heaven killed 200 men who worshipped the idol. When the remaining group begged for mercy, he raised the 200 from the dead; they all converted and were baptized.

Ceonops, a magician, pretended to bring three dead people come to life; the “people” were actually demons who mimicked people so the magician could turn people away from Christ. Through prayer, John caused the magician to drown and the demons to vanish and many other stories.

St. John is more popularly known as the “Beloved Disciple of Jesus,” because of his closeness to Him. He wrote the 4th Gospel, three letters, the Book of Revelation is also attributed to him. His three letters is filled with the spirit of love, gentleness and tenderness. And this spirituality of love is reflected in the old tradition preserved by St. Jerome. St. Jerome, narrated in the 365 With The Lord 2007, wrote about John that when age and weakness grew upon him at Ephesus so that he was no longer able to preach to the people, he used to be carried to the assembly of the faithful and every time he said to his flock only theses words: “My little children, love one another.” When they asked him why he always repeated the same words, he replied: “Because it is the word of the Lord and if you keep it you do enough.”

Such is the challenge that the apostle St. John poses us today, to love one another. Love in Tagalog is “pagmamahal“. Meanwhile “mahal” in Tagalog means “expensive”. In other words, love is expensive. Once you love someone, if it is a true love, you will do everything for his/her best, even you will sacrifice your very own life like Jesus and millions of others did. It is love… a very expensive.

See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

OPTION  01,   02,   03,

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